Background: Pain, stiffness and functional restriction of the joints are the main problems for many patients with inflammatory rheumatic conditions. When conventional drugs fail to delay the development of the disease, the patient may require biological treatment such as anti-TNF therapy. Some biological drugs are administered in the form of intravenous infusions and thus the patient is obliged to attend a clinic in order to receive his/her medication, which can affect everyday life as well as independence. It is therefore important to focus on the patient perspective.
Aim: The aim of this study was to describe variations in how patients with rheumatic conditions conceive their dependence on a nurse for the administration of their intravenous anti-TNF therapy.
Method: The study had a descriptive qualitative design with a phenomenographic approach. Interviews were conducted with 20 patients.
Result: Three descriptive categories and seven sub-categories emerged: Dependence that affords security (encountering continuity, encountering competence and obtaining information); Dependence that creates involvement (being allowed influence and being given freedom); Dependence that invigorates (obtaining relaxation and encountering the environment).
Conclusion: The patients had not reflected on the fact that they were dependent on a nurse for the administration of their intravenous anti-TNF therapy, which may be due to their possibility to influence the treatment. The patients' needs should constitute the basis for the nurse's role in the provision of care. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.